Stories of Caledon

Nearly 800 People Participated in PDSB’s First-ever Powwow

Participants lining up for Grand Entry
Written by Dan O’Reilly

Photo above (credit Dan O’Reilly) Members of the PDSB Indigenous Education team and community partners, led by Elder Garry Sault, as they line up for the Grand Entry.

Indigenous peoples from several nations shared their customs, ceremonies, and traditions at Peel District School Board’s first-ever Powwow in Caledon on May 31st.

Drum Group

Drum group Crazy Nation Singers at the Maawnjiding Wingushkeng Centre for Indigenous Excellence and Land Based Learning for PDSB’s first ever powwow. (Photo credit: Dan O’Reilly)

The day-long program was also the first ever public event for the Maawnjiding Wingushkeng Centre for Indigenous Excellence and Land Based Learning at 13990 Mississauga Road (the former Creditview Public School) in Cheltenham. 

“Nearly 800 people participated including students from across Peel District School Board,” says the board’s co-ordinating vice-principal of indigenous education, Nicole Reynolds.

The theme of the inaugural powwow was “Honoring Our Youth,” which affirms the strength and identify of the younger generation, she points out.

Featuring several traditional dances, songs, and ceremonies, the celebration of Indigenous culture showcased the pivotal role youth have in preserving ancestral knowledge and shaping the community’s future as they share their talents, leadership, and cultural wisdom.

Julia Kozak dancing in red blanket she designed and made

Julia Kozak danced with the traditional button blanket which she designed and made. Julia is a member of the Nisga’a Nation of northwestern British Columbia, but now lives in the GTA. (Photo credit: Dan O’Reilly)

Highlights of the day included two Grand Entries by the participants. There was also a vendor fair and a number of educational pavilions hosted by community partners held inside the centre.A sacred fire was kept ablaze by volunteers throughout the powwow, says Reynolds.

Planning for the powwow began in January of this year and was a collaborative effort between Peel District School Board’s indigenous education team, who are a part of the Equity, Indigenous Education, School and Community Relations department, and community partners.

“Our hope is that this becomes a new tradition for Peel District School Board, with future powwows yet to come.”

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About the author

Dan O’Reilly

Dan O’Reilly is a freelance writer specializing in design and construction, the environment, and historical preservation. He is also a regular contributor to the Daily Commercial News and Ontario Home Builder, the official magazine of the Ontario Home Builders Association.

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